11/14/2014 01:04 EST | Updated 03/04/2015 05:59 EST

This Child Pornography Case Proves Misogyny Is Alive and Well in Canada

Chris Ryan via Getty Images

This blog has been edited at the author's request.

The Canadian government has made it clear that it does not take misogyny seriously.

The man, who was 17 at the time of the offence, circulated a photo of sexual abuse happening to a then 15-year-old Halifax teen, is not receiving any jail time. The circulation of this photo, which is child pornography, lead to the teen's suicide attempt. She later died in the hospital.

It's so easy for us to talk about misogyny abroad. We love to pull up cases of violence against women in the Middle East, in places that seem foreign and far away. We foster ideas of us v.s. them, claiming they, the Other, could do something horrible, but not us. But this tragedy only proves misogyny is alive and well in this country. It runs so deeply through our highest institutions that the parents of the victim could not see justice to a crime that took their daughter away from them.

I am outraged, to say the least. I am outraged on behalf of the teen, her parents and her friends. I am outraged that the crime happened in the first place, that teenage boys could think it was acceptable to be so callous and violent, and that after their terrible crime she was victim-blamed and bullied into depression. I am outraged as a woman and a feminist that even this little bit of justice couldn't occur.

We look away from the prejudices and bigotry in our nation and assume that we are tolerant and accepting. But time and time again we see that misogyny is a toxin in our society. Women are disproportionately targeted, made to feel lesser, and forced to undergo the horrors of sexual violence.

From the disproportionate rate of missing and murdered Indigenous women, to the Jian Ghomeshi allegations, to the allegations coming out of Parliament Hill, there is no doubt that this is a national and societal problem. What happened to the Halifax teen was not just an incident of some few bad kids, but one that has happened to far too many young girls and reflects one of society's ugliest sides.

As a nation, we can keep looking abroad and pointing our fingers halfway across the world at the pitfalls of other countries and cultures. But we have a problem here at home, and the young woman is just one name out of thousands of women who have been victims of sexual violence.

She was turned into a statistic, as so many women have. Before you begin your critiques of sexism in other critiques, let's look into Canada's reflection and realize how dangerously prevalent it is here.


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